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is allowable by one health care provider. could you address bet? -- that? >> relative negotiating, it is the negotiation of the federal government to the pharmaceutical companies. there's actually a restriction that the federal government cannot use the purchasing power to negotiate a bulk purchase to the pharmaceutical companies. it is really to the pharmaceutical aspects of that. your next question i will come back. what has happened, and president clinton referred to this in a speech at the democratic convention, is bringing the cost of pharmaceuticals down. it is similar to what i was talking about relative to capitalistic competition. we did a joint venturea few yers ago with wal-mart. we introduce a $15 a month drug plan. $15 a month. the industry thought we were crazy. we worked with wal-mart's purchasing power and distribution capability and our ability to bring solutions to our members. we brought a product out. what that has done is bring down the cost of part d. what this is doing is bringing competition to the marketplace. maybe you cannot take the plans at the time of
," if someone suddenly shows up with my long lost brother back in the audience, all bets are off, folks. i am enormously grateful for the generous comments of the chair and the ranking member. thank you very much. thank you for your tremendous cooperation over the course of the last years. i will tell you i enjoyed chairing this committee and working with all of you as much as anything i have been privileged to do in my career. i think this is one of the great committees of the senate and it is the only major committee i have served on every single day since i arrived here in 1985. as you know, the committee carries special responsibilities for the security of our nation and i thank each and every one of you for the serious consideration you have brought to challenging issues and for the incredible cooperation i have received as chairman. if confirmed, i look forward to continuing to work closely with all of you as we tackle some very tough problems. and i particularly welcome the new members in that regard. i am grateful for president obama for nominating me. i am very grateful to secretary
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